Coronavirus: What can you do if you start to feel sick?
As we all have heard that, The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). There is a climbing statistics of the number of cases at 145,000 worldwide, there is a state of panic and fear among everyone. The novelty of the disease also leads to anxiety and fear about it. Even though, the symptoms mirror that of the flu, the coronavirus infection is nowhere close to what the flu is like.
The medical world is well versed with the symptoms, treatments and manifestations of the flu. This is not the case with this new virus.
Researchers are still working on a cure. Doctors do not yet know how long the virus can survive within the body before showing symptoms. The utter state of bewilderment has caused everyone to break into panic across the globe.
The WHO has advised everyone to take the necessary precautions and visit a doctor if you begin to experience symptoms. It is advised for everyone with even the slightest symptoms to self-quarantine to limit the spread of the disease. However, is staying at home the best solution? Is that all we can do if we begin to feel sick?
Early Precaution to avoid the Covid-19, If you feel Sick
If you have a cough, a fever or difficulty breathing, and you are worried that you may have COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, here is recommendations from Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins, on what to do, step by step.
Stay Home and Call a Health Care Provider
Unless it is an emergency, to reduce your risk of catching or spreading illness, stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. Do not go to work, school or public places, and avoid public transportation.
If your symptoms are severe or you feel like you need medical care, call before you go to a doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency room. Describe your symptoms over the phone.
In case if you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and recent travel history.
Answer Questions to Determine Your Risk
When you call a health care facility, you will be asked about your risks for COVID-19. Risk factors include recent travel to certain countries or areas of the U.S., or exposure to an infected person.
For instance, people calling Johns Hopkins Health System hospitals or clinics are asked:
- Have you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus? (Close contact means having been within 6 feet of that person for an extended time, or being exposed to their cough or sneeze.)
- Do you have a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing?
- Has a public health officer said you were potentially exposed to COVID-19?
3. Follow Your Health Care Provider’s Instructions.
Based on your answers to these questions, the care provider will provide instructions over the phone. You will be told if you need to be evaluated, and if so, what to do next. Based on your risk for COVID-19, your health care provider may recommend that you:
- Continue to monitor your health and call back if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms.
- Stay home and await further instructions.
- Report to a designated medical care facility for evaluation and treatment. It’s best to go alone to your appointment. Do not bring children or other family members unless you need assistance.
- Go to a clinic or emergency department if you have more severe symptoms, such as higher fever and severe shortness of breath.
4. Practice Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
- If you do leave your home to go to a care facility, wear a mask so your coughs and sneezes are less likely to infect others. (Masks are NOT recommended for healthy people in the general population.)
- Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) after sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing or using the bathroom, and before preparing or eating food.
- If you cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow, not your hand. Or use a tissue, and then throw it away immediately afterward.
- At home, clean often-touched surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, cabinet handles, bathroom hardware, tabletops, phones, tablets and keyboards regularly with disinfectant.
5. Stay Calm
The possibility of having a contagious illness is scary, but doctors, nurses and other caregivers are learning more about COVID-19 every day. They are working together with national and international agencies to identify and provide care to patients while avoiding the spread of the illness in the community.